Springtime Smoothie with Aloe Vera

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It’s finally Spring and it’s really warming up here in Mandeville and I am so grateful! To ring in Spring and to prepare for summer, I’ve made the ultimate Springtime smoothie with aloe vera.

If you’re Jamaican, I bet you’re pretty skeptical right now. Aloe vera? In a drink? How can that be good? I know all those questions are going through your mind. But it is possible! All you gotta do is remove that awful bitter flavour. Before I explain how to do that (and it’s quite simple), let’s talk a bit about aloe vera.

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So aloe “vera” is a succulent plant that is just one type of aloe (aloe being a species of over 500 plants) and it is widely known in Jamaica for it’s medicinal properties and its very bitter taste. People here on the island use the plant to treat cuts, burns, constipation and a few other ailments and you know what, it works better than any modern medicine I’ve ever tried. We also use it in our hair as a conditioner and on our skin since it helps keep those pesky wrinkles at bay. I personally love how super shiny and smooth it makes both my skin and hair feel! Oh and besides all that, its a great addition to any succulent collection (here’s mine).

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But you must be wondering how aloe vera in a drink can help you… well its great for your digestive system, kinda like how yogurt is and its full of vitamins and nutrients. The best thing about working with aloe vera is that once you remove that bitterness, you’re left with a blank slate that you can customize based on the season and whatever is available.

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So first, let’s talk about de-bittering; you wanna cut a leaf from your aloe vera plant and let it drain for a full day and all the yellow slime will drain out. Then you wanna fillet it, to do this, run your knife along both sides of the leaf, being careful not to cut through the bottom leaf. Then pull back the top leaf; it will peel back easily and with the knife or a spoon cut/scoop the jell off the bottom leaf. Wash the jell and you can cut it into pieces or not but it must go into a ziplock bag and freeze for a day, that’s what really takes the bitterness away, don’t ask me how.

On smoothie making day, all you do is add to a blender, your fruits, I used papaya for it’s refreshing yet sweet flavour, a frozen banana ’cause you can’t have a smoothie without those,  a ton of mint because that just taste like spring to me, like waking up from winter and the frozen aloe vera jell of course, a pinch of turmeric powder, that’s optional some honey and some ice cold coconut water and wizz away. Pour into glasses and enjoy!

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Check out the recipe below for measurements and stay tuned for more spring time foods!

Springtime Smoothie with Aloe Vera

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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This refreshing smoothie taste like a field of daisies and bees buzzing around wild flowers and afternoon showers all in one.

INGREDIENTS

Aloe vera jell from two leaves, frozen

1/2 papaya, sliced

1 frozen banana, sliced

2 sprigs of mint, leaves only (reserve a sprig for garnish)

1 pinch of turmeric

1 tablespoon honey (or agave syrup)

1 1/2-2 cups coconut water, cold

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth.
  2. Pour into glasses with straws and garnish with a sprig of mint.

I hope you shine today!heart

 

Banana and Spirulina Vegan Ice Cream Pops

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So recently I got inspired to make my own vegan ice cream and I don’t mean your typical, non-creamy vegan version that you eat and feel unfulfilled by because you didn’t get that satisfying and sinful full cream fat. Sounds dirty, I know but isn’t that why we indulge in ice cream? To enjoy that full-bodied creaminess.  And that’s why I came up with this recipe.

It’s only a few ingredients and it’s actually good for you; with no sugars added and spoons full of spirulina for all those great vitamins… oh and let’s not forget the pretty turquoise colour it gave the ice cream.

So let’s get right into it then!

So main ingredient is frozen, fresh bananas and yes, they have to be frozen. I throw those into a blender and kinda left them to chill out ’till they were not so hard; if you’ve got a powerful blender then you can skip this step. My bananas came fresh off the tree right before I froze them.

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I added coconut cream to the blender as well and this is what gives that ‘fat factor’, you know, makes it into that creamy ice cream we all crave from time to time. After that I added about 2 teaspoons of spirulina powder and wizzed away. I actually ended up adding more spirulina until I got the colour I wanted. Now, this next step is not necessary but I love this Debz non-dairy ice cream so much, so I added about two scoops of their Rum and Raisin flavour for a little kick, but again, this is not necessary and if you want that rum flavour in your ice cream, you can always add about 2 tablespoons of rum to the blender.

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The ice cream mixture should be full-bodied and thick but not too thick.

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After everything was blended, I took some freshly picked raspberries which I popped in the freezer for about 2 hours and added them to the ice cream.

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Then it was time to assemble the ice cream pops. The first step is to add some of the ice cream mixture to my molds which were antique wine goblets; they were the perfect size with a cute shape but of course you can use any mold you wish, just remember to oil the molds with coconut oil before you actually add the cream mixture.

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I chopped up some Jamaican raw cacao as well and layered it with the cream for a little chocolaty surprise. This was my favourite part of these ice cream popper, biting into the ice cream and finding hidden chocolate. Yum!

Once I got the molds filled, I stuck sticks into the center of the cream. I carved them from tree branches (had to get crafty since I had no popsicle sticks) but you can go ahead and get the ‘correct’ sticks lol.

After that, I covered the pops with plastic wrap and froze them for about 2-3 hours or until they were solid.

To un-mold these delicious pops, I simply dipped them in warm water and tugged gently on the sticks and when they felt loose, I lifted the pops out of the mold. Last but not least, I garnished with rose petals (from my garden), ground peppermint and crushed almonds.

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Then I dug in! These pops make guilty pleasures not so guilty. I absolutely love them! With no sugar added, and a lot of vitamins from the spirulina and nutritional benefits from bananas and coconut, you’ll never believe its not regular ice cream.

Check out the step by step recipe below!

Banana and Spirulina Vegan Ice Cream Pops

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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These ice cream pops are perfect for a little Sunday afternoon indulgence without the guilt!

INGREDIENTS

4-6 frozen bananas, sliced

2 1/2 cups coconut cream

3-4 teaspoons spirulina powder

2 scoops of Debz Non-dairy Ice Cream (optional)

1 cup raspberries, frozen

coconut oil (for greasing molds)

Jamaica raw cacao, chopped, as needed

chopped almonds, as needed

rose petals, as needed

ground peppermint, as needed

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To a blender, add the bananas, coconut cream and spirulina powder. Blended to incorporate. Add the non-dairy ice cream and blend till smooth. If you aren’t adding the ice cream, simply blend the mixture till smooth with the rum, if desired.
  2. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the frozen berries. Mix and pop the ice cream into the freezer, covered.
  3. In the mean time, grease the molds you’ll be using with coconut oil and set aside.
  4. Remove the mixture from the freezer and start filling to molds half way up the top.
  5. Add a few pieces of the cacao and fill the molds to the top.
  6. Stick the popsicle sticks into the center of the ice cream and cover with plastic warp.
  7. Put them back into the freezer for about 2-3 hours or until the ice cream is frozen solid.
  8. Un-mold the pops by dipping the molds into warm water.
  9. Garnish with the almonds, rose petals and peppermint.
  10. Enjoy!

I hope you shine todayheart

 

 

Vegetable and Spirulina Soup

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I don’t know about any one else, but I’m over these colder, rainy Mandeville days and I’m ready for a warm Spring season to take over. That being said, I’m enjoying winter’s veggies in warm, soul comforting soups.

I got inspired on one rainy afternoon while sitting and thinking about my amazing grandfather who passed away in 2016; he would make the most bestest vegetable soup! So I thought I’d remake it my way and add some spirulina I got from my local vegan restaurant, Fancy Fruit here in Mandeville.

As I do with all my recipes, I rely on whatever I see when I walk into my garden and when I open my fridge door and I simply make do with what I have. I had callaloo and pak choi as greens and was hoping for some broccoli to roast and add as well but I’m going to have to get some for next time and trust me, there will be a next time; this soup was sooo good! I also had some potatoes which I added to give the soup some hardiness. Grandpa did his soup with pak choi and callaloo too but he never added potatoes (or spirulina) but as I said, this is my version.

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To make it warm and a bit spicy I added bird chillis, cumin seeds and coriander powder. My seasonings were quite simple, just your regular onion, sweet (bell) pepper, dried parsley leaves and garlic; I sauteed those in my fave organic, cold pressed coconut oil which we keep in this jar we had pickles in.

 

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After a quick saute over medium heat, I added the potatoes and got those a bit brown too before adding the greens and some garlic chili sauce, more salt and pepper and some water. Then it’s time to simmer the soup. I simmered with the lid on for about 10 minutes over medium/low heat; I really just waited for the potatoes to get tender.

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In the mean time I went hunting for goodies from my garden; I found peppermint to freshen up the soup, pumpkin blossoms because I had some beautiful ones in the garden that I knew would be so nice and delicate in the soup, I also found some orange blossoms which are slightly zesty and floral (mmmmm), so nice with the spices in the soup. I used these as garnish.

So when my potatoes got tender and the soup broth tasted just right with all the seasonings and flavours, I added everything to a blender and blended until smooth with some yummy almond milk.

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Then I added the spirulina, which by the way is packed with super vitamins like vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3, B-6 plus more which are all great for immune health, energy, nerve and brain function, organ health etc. and nutrients like iron, magnesium, potassium… just oh my gosh, it’s so packed with a lot of goodies. It’s especially good for vegans who need extra protein ’cause it delivers on the protein!

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With this soup though, I added the salt sparingly since the spirulina which is literally from the sea has this beautiful, natural saltiness to it so I did my final seasoning after I added the spirulina.  I highly recommend you do the same. So after I added the spirulina, I blended the soup again and returned it to the pot over low heat, just to keep it warm.

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I tasted for final seasoning and then I served the soup in bowls and added all my garden goodies on top along with roasted almonds for texture, orange zest for extra zestiness and homemade, chunky tomato sauce, because fresh tomatoes go really well with the soup smile face. I know my Gramps would love it!

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I hope you guys make this yummy soup too to help soothe these last few winter days; you won’t regret it!

Vegetable and Spirulina Soup

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

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This soup is super soothing, super green and super healthy; perfect for cold, rainy evenings. Enjoy by candle light!

INGREDIENTS

coconut oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 bird chilis, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 teaspoon dried parsley leaves

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

3 small potatoes, diced

4 stalks Callaloo, chopped

6-7 pak choi leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon garlic chili sauce

4 cups water (or as needed)

1 cup almond milk (or as needed)

1 teaspoon spirulina powder

roasted almonds, as garnish

chopped pumpkin blossoms, as garnish

peppermint, as garnish

orange blossoms, as garnish

orange zest, as garnish

olive oil, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add the oil to a soup pot over medium heat. Add the first onions, garlic, chilis, bell pepper, dried  parsley leaves, cumin seeds and coriander to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes and fry for another 10 minutes. Add the greens and garlic chili sauce and saute a bit longer before adding the water.
  3. Simmer on a medium/low heat for about 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are fully cooked.
  4. Once the potatoes are tender, check the flavour profile. At this point the soup should be earthy, spicy and full of depth. Add a little salt.
  5. Transfer everything to a blender and blend on medium speed until smooth.
  6. Add the almond milk, blend again and lastly the spirulina. Blend just to incorporate.
  7. Transfer back to the pot over low heat, just to keep it warm. Test the flavour to ensure the salt level is good.
  8. Serve in bowls and add the garnishes on top.

I hope you shine today!heart

 

 

 

Homemade Granola

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Let’s face it, granola is yummy, it’s ‘snackable’ and its perfect as a breakfast cereal but it’s so overpriced. If you’re a fan of granola like me, then you know how much these things cost in the supermarket; but why buy it when you can make it?

I’ve been making my own granola for a while now and it is a very simple and easy process; the great thing is that you can make it now and jar some up for the rest of the week! This granola will keep 14 days or so, although mine has never lasted that long LOL. I also LOVE that granola can be customized and each time I make it, I try different flavours together and always end up with a delicious result.

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Today I’m gonna share with you my recipe for this week’s granola. I pretty much added a bunch of dried fruits, seeds and nuts that I had around my kitchen (awesome way to finish up that last bit if pumpkin seeds that’s been sitting there after I already popped open my new bag).

The backbone of this recipe is of course the oats, I mean, by now everyone should know about my love affair with oats; they are my favourite ‘fibrelicious’ breakfast pick-me-up meal and I’ll have them in pretty much any form smile face. Old fashioned, rolled oats are the only ones I use and if you can get them organic, that would be great!

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For this recipe, I got them mixed with honey, maple syrup, cinnamon and almond butter; you could eat it just like that and on many occasions, I have! But for the purpose of this recipe, try to hold back the urge for flaky oats coated in goodness. When I’ve got it nice and mixed, I kinda scrunch the oats up into, well, bunches I suppose and bake them low and slow for about 15-20 minutes. You could even toast them in a mini toaster over which is actually what I do most of the time.

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Once the bunches are all ready, crisp and crunchy, allow them to cool. Then it’s time to go through your kitchen emptying all the crumbs from the jar of nuts, seeds, the coconut flakes you had left over from the vegan coconut cake you baked, the raisins you bought for Christmas cake/pudding/fruit cake and anything else you have in your pantry that you can toss in. I like to load up but if you think less is more, feel free to add one or two… condiments? I’ll call them condiments, yes. Or you don’t have to add anything at all; you can bake the bunches and have them just like that.

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To mine though I added a myriad of dried fruits, coconut flakes, walnuts, and seeds I had on hand. BUT as you can clearly see, you can customize your granola to your taste. For breakfast purposes, I drown my granola in milk but I also enjoy filling a container with the cereal mix and snacking on them while working…perfect for keeping me full!

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Check out the full recipe below and make your own for breakfast!

Homemade Granola

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Super Easy
  • Print

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This is an amazing weekday breakfast option; make it Sunday and enjoy it every morning after.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups old fashion oats

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon maple syrup (vegans can use only

maple syrup at 3 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 tablespoon almond butter

seeds (pumpkin, sunflower etc.)

dried fruits (apricots, raisins, dates etc.)

nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashew)

dried coconut flakes

milk (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat a toaster oven to 170°F or oven to 180°F.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment/grease paper.

3. Mix the first five ingredients together in a bowl and ensure that the oats come together when squeezed in your hand.

4. Empty the bowl on to the baking sheet and ‘bunch’ the oats together randomly.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bunch and hard and crispy.

6. Allow the granola to cool.

7. Mix with the condiments (dried fruits, seeds and nuts) and add to jars with tight lids to keep for about 14 days.

8. To enjoy, add milk or snack on them while work or play!

I hope you shine today! heart

 

 

 

Black Bean Burger Salad

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Do you know those days when you really want a burger but you’re on a gluten cleanse and you gotta work around the bread to get what you want? Well, maybe you’ve never had one of those days and actually, until this week I never had one of those days before either. But to fix my newfound dilemma, I did the simplest thing and made my burger into a salad! So here’s my recipe for the most bestest Black Bean Burger Salad.

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Main ingredient, black beans. I seasoned mine with onions, sweet pepper (bell pepper), garlic and lots of thyme, oh and of course salt and pepper too. First, I added my black beans to my food processor and pulsed; I used canned black beans and pulsed just enough to get it to come together but not so much that it was all mush, I like a little texture.

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I also added soy sauce to my burger mix, you know for that extra kick! After that, all I had to do was shape my burger “meat” into patties and brown them in a pan with oil. I used olive oil over medium heat and browned them until crispy; the best part is the crispy edged with the soft inside. Soo good! To finish the patty in the pan, I sliced artisan pepper jack cheese and melted it over top.

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Then for the salad, it’s fresh lettuce, yogurt sriracha dressing, pickled carrots and beets and a sprinkle of fresh thyme. For the pickles, I love the brainy flavour so I stack it up but go light if it’s not your thing.

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I’m telling you guys, it’s the best lunch! and if you’re looking for a light dinner, this hits the spot too, no doubt.

So if you ever happen to have one of these days or you just think this sounds and looks gosh darn good then check out the recipe below so you can make your own!

Black Bean Burger Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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This one’s great for gluten free or bread-free days or diets and it’s super delish.

INGREDIENTS

1 can Black beans

1/2 Onions

1/2 Bell peppers

2 cloves garlic

3 sprigs thyme, plus extra

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Pepper jack cheese (or vegan cheese)

Pickled beets, as needed

Pickled carrots, as needed

Yogurt (or sour cream)

Sriracha sauce

Fresh lettuce

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pulse the beans and the seasonings separately.
  2. Season with salt, pepper and soy sauce and mix everything together.
  3. Shape the “meat” into patties and start browning them crispy in a pan with oil over medium heat.
  4. Once you flip the burger, add a slice of cheese on top and allow it to melt while the bottom browns.
  5. In the mean time, in a bowl mix some sriracha and yogurt together (to your taste), set aside and on a plate assemble lettuce leaves and lay the burger patty on top.
  6. Add the pickles on top and add the yogurt scriracha. Sprinkle the thyme on top.
  7. Enjoy!

I hope you shine today!heart

 

 

 

Coffee Eggnog

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So Christmas has come and gone but that doesn’t mean we can’t live out the rest of the month in true Christmas style; in fact we should!

Eggnog is a Christmas favourite which I only make during these Holidays since I cheat and use granulated cane sugar and totally bypass the honey or maple syrup (see I can be a dare devil, ha ha). It’s full of nutmeg, its cinnamony, it’s boozey and super creamy coffee goodness!! The best part is you can have it warm or cold and it’s perfect either way.

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The recipe requires a bit of simmering, some whisking and a lot of fun. I made this Coffee Eggnog with Gordon who insisted on tasting the eggnog at each stage, by taking large spoon fulls and I couldn’t help but laugh at his definition of taste.

As per usual, my eggs, which are the main ingredient of course, are bought from my neighbour; have I ever shown you all the road to his farm?

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See that’s the road to organic goodness!

I take five eggs and separate the yolks from the whites, then cover the whites and stick them in the fridge. To the yolks I add sugar (I swear, after the holidays it’s back to honey and maple syrup) and while I got to whisking those together, Gordon added milk, brewed coffee and a cinnamon stick to a heavy bottom sauce pan.

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I whipped the yolks ’till they became pretty lighter in colour and sorta increased in size and got a little fluffy. By that time, the milk had started simmering and Gordon added tons of grated nutmeg to the it after shutting off the heat.

By the way, we made this while listening to Christmas songs, how cheesy are we? Ha ha! But who cares, it really does set the festive mood smile face.

So the milk is hot and the egg yolks are creamy; time to add the milk to the yolks. I whisked the yolks while Gordon slowly and steadily poured the milk in. You wanna go gentle and slow to prevent scrambling those yolks; once the yolk mixture gets hot, you can pour the rest of the milk in all at once. Then you wanna cool the mixture down. Best way to do this is with the bowl of eggnog on top of an ice bath but if it’s cool enough in your house, you can stir to cool it.

The kicker is the Sangster’s Rum Cream Coffee flavour. Just stir it in and drop the mike. I mean this stuff is that good! Refrigerate after that.

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When the eggnog is cold, pull out those egg whites and whip them to stiff peaks; it’s ready when you hold the bowl of whipped whites upside down and they don’t move. Mix this into the eggnog and pour into a jar and refrigerate until your’e ready to enjoy!

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Warm up your nog by gently heating it in a double boiler or just in a bowl over simmering water. I serve mine up with cinnamon sticks and extra ground coffee on top. Yummy! it’s so so good and between four persons, it’s finished within a day, so if your’e thinking of making this for more people, double up on the recipe!

Coffee Eggnog

  • Servings: 4 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Creamy, delicious and perfect for the season! You cannot resist it.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups of milk

1 cup brewed coffee

1 cinnamon stick

5 egg yolks

2/3 cups granulated cane sugar

grated nutmeg (as much as you like)

1/2 cup Sangster’s Coffee Rum Cream.

5 egg whites

ground coffee (optional)

cinnamon sticks (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
1. To 2 cups of milk add 1 cup brewed coffee and 1 cinnamon stick, bring to a simmer over medium heat.
2. In a bowl add 5 egg yolks to 2/3 cups granulated cane sugar and whisk until the mixture is light and pale yellow in colour.
3. Slowly whisk in the hot milk (cinnamon stick removed) and add grated nutmeg (as much as you like).
4. Allow the mixture to cool before refrigerating (either over a cold water bath or by stirring until cool). Add 1/2 cup Sangster’s Coffee Rum Cream.
5. Refrigerate for a few hours (until cold).
6. Before serving, whisk 5 egg whites to stiff peaks and stir into the mixture.
7. Enjoy cold or warm in a bain marie. Serve with ground coffee on top and a cinnamon stick.

Okra and Egg Curry with Quinoa

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Christmas dinner for a veggie lover can be a bit daunting; turkey here, chicken there and ham everywhere. What’s there for us to eat?

For me, I like to keep it simple with big, bold flavours; that means Indian. So today I’m sharing one of my favourite Christmas dinner main dishes that’s sure to satisfy both meat and veggie lovers, my Okra and Egg Curry with Quinoa. Oh, and for those who are hosting vegetarian guests this Christmas and are absolutely clueless about what to make, I’ve got you sorted!

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Main ingredient, okra. If you’ve read my blog post about my okra fritters, you’ll know that this is one of my favourite veggies that sadly get a bad rep here in Jamaica for being super slimy and just not appetizing. BUT, okra doesn’t have to be that way at all. It’s actually crunchy and delicious when prepared correctly and has zero slime. Make sure the okras you use are firm, bright, green and of course fresh! I use organic ones that I’ve planted myself but pretty much all the okras here on the island are organically grown, so it’s super easy to get your hands on the good stuff, which is AWESOME!

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For the curry, I use my grandmother’s curry blend which is five star, top notch stuff. I mean, you can’t get the stuff anywhere else; well actually, you could get something pretty similar in May Pen Market in Clarendon so go pick up your own!

When you cook with this curry, you’ll see flecks of the spices coated on whatever you’ve made; the sign of quality. So first step is to saute some onion, garlic and tomatoes in coconut oil and curry. Oh by the way, coconut oil is the way to go for this recipe- remember the rule, if coconuts are grown in the country of the dishes’ origin, use coconut oil!

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I pretty much let this fry ’till the onions are crisp, then I add the sliced okras and season with salt and pepper. You wanna fry this until the okras become a bit crispy too, this helps to eliminate the slime.

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Then it’s time to add water.
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In the mean time I boil my quinoa by simply following the instructions on the package and boil my eggs to hard boil. These just hang out until I’m ready for ’em.

You wanna turn the okras down to medium heat and simmer until the okras are tender but firm and the curry reduces a bit. At this point, cut add the eggs and have them simmer in the curry. The whites will turn bright yellow to almost match the yolks. You want the curry to be thicken but still thin and definitely you need to have enough curry sauce (gravy) to spoon over the quinoa.

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I like to finish with a squeeze of lime after I shut the heat off. I stir, readjust my seasoning and serve over quinoa.

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The slightly spicy curry is the perfect warming sensation for this colder weather and is a great additional to any Christmas dinner menu; your veggie friends will love you for it!!

Okra and Egg Curry with Quinoa

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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This Christmas dinner entree is one for the veggie lovers and just perfect for this cold Winter climate.

INGREDIENTS

24 okras, sliced

1 yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (preferably from May Pen Market or your Indian grandmother)

salt and pepper, to taste

coconut oil

1/2-2/3 cups water

2 eggs, hard boiled

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked (follow instruction on package)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To a dutch pot or kadai, add a few tablespoons of coconut oil and 1 teaspoon of the curry powder.
  2. Allow this to get hot but do not burn the spices. Add the onions, garlic and tomatoes.
  3. Fry these until the onions are crispy.
  4. At this point, add the okras and season with salt, pepper and the remainder of the curry powder.
  5. Saute these on high heat, this helps to eliminate the slime. I wait until a crust forms on the okra as a result of the spices and seasonings.
  6. Add the water and lower the heat to medium and simmer with the lid off.
  7. Let the curry reduce a bit for about 5 minutes and add the, sliced, cooked eggs.
  8. Reduce for another 5-7 minutes. The okras should be cooked but firm (and not slimy).
  9. Shut off the heat and add a squeeze of lime. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
  10. To serve, spoon some quinoa on a plate and pile the okra and egg curry on top. You can also mix the quinoa with the curry to make a okra quinoa bowl.

 

 

 

Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Sorrel Cookies

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Fall in love with my Oatmeal Sorrel Cookies this Christmas! Cozy up in your favourite Christmas sweater with a glass of spiced milk and these soft and chewy cookies.

It was super rainy over the weekend so of course our Mandeville temperature dropped to a ‘low’ 64°F  which for me is the perfect excuse to throw on a chunky sweater and curl up with the family; in that moment it dawned on me, Christmas is here!! So I decided to make some Christmasy cookies with our most beloved Christmas ingredient here on the island; sorrel.

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So if you’re from North America and parts of Europe, you’ll probably think I’m talking about that herb you use in salads but our sorrel is nothing like that. It’s actually a fruit-like flower that some people might refer to as hibiscus. We use it primarily to make a boozy drink around the holiday season which every one is permitted to gulp down, including kids! Kinda crazy, I know but usually a batch without alcohol is made for the kids and those who don’t drink.

Recently I discovered these dried, candied sorrel at the supermarket (you can also find them on Amazon) which I snack on or add to salads; this weekend they were added to my cookies!

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So to make these, its quite simple and perfect to make with your kids, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and the list goes on. I went all out on these and didn’t skim on the things that make cookies really… amazing. I added organic cane sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, butter and of course salt and baking soda.

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First step, whisk the sugar and butter together.

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Second step, add the flour mixture.

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Third step, add the oats and sorrel.

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Fourth step, refrigerate if your kitchen is warm, don’t if it’s cool.

Fifth step, bake.

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Easy, right! Before I add them to the oven, I add a sprinkle of oats on top for texture and crunch. You have to use whole, old fashioned oats, it just won’t be the same with the processed stuff. I pull these out of the oven when they are golden brown and the middle is still soft. You wanna let them cool before you remove them from the pan, although you don’t have to wait ’till they cool completely, just enough so you can touch them. I continue cooling mine on a cooling rack.

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When they cool I grab a glass of milk that I add nutmeg to and chow down. My mom likes to have her cookies warm and it’s pretty good with the cold milk, definitely something to try.

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If you make these cookies, leave a comment and let me know how you liked it!

Oatmeal Sorrel Cookies

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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These are the perfect Christmas time cookies and a great alternative to the well-known gingerbread cookies and sugar cookies; get the kids to help out on this one!

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup organic cane sugar

1/2 cup butter (organic and unsalted), softened

3/4 cup flour, plus 2 tablespoons

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon milk or almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried candied sorrel

1/2 cup whole, old fashioned oats (plus extra)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Using a mixer or whisk, cream the sugar and butter together until smooth and fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the dried ingredients, the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add gradually to the creamed butter mixture and mix just enough to combine.
  5. Add the milk and vanilla extract and whisk in.
  6. Add the sorrel and oats and switching to a rubber spatula, mix the sorrel and oats in to form a smooth, soft dough.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes if you are in a hot environment, you can skip this step if your kitchen is cool.
  8. Remove from the refrigerator and roll into balls and place them on a butter or parchment lined cookie sheet.
  9. Press down the ball slightly and sprinkle extra oats on top.
  10. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the middle is still soft.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transporting the cookies to a cooling rack.
  12. Enjoy with a glass of milk!

 

 

Gingery Cucumber Salad

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My fiance Gordon recently introduced me to a cucumber salad recipe that has got me hooked! It is deceptively simple since it packs such a punch but has literally 6 ingredients (including salt and pepper). I’m won’t dilly dally for much longer, so let get into it.

Cucumbers. These are of course the main ingredients in this fresh salad so what’s the first rule? That’s right, use fresh ingredients; this is so so important. Make sure your cucumbers are fresh and firm and deep green in colour. I like a crisp, yet flavourful cucumber, that just slightly bursts with juices once you bite in. This is the sorta cucumber you need for this recipe.

I got mine from my grandmother who got it from a family friend who plants cucumbers; I love getting veggies as gifts haha, they’re the best kind. I’ve also got a small patch of cucumbers growing nearby my house that’s sorta run it’s growth course so I haven’t been able to harvest from my community… thank God for family friends!

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“You have to cut the cucumbers thin, that’s the trick to this recipe”, that’s what my naturally gifted fiance let me know the first time we made this salad together; and so, I pass this on to you all, it really is quite important. You sorta end up marinating the cucumbers in the ginger, mustard and honey so having the cucumbers thin helps the flavours to get together super easy.

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So yea, you’re pretty much done at this point. Add some dried (not powdered) ginger, that’s the ginger you get when you totally forgot you had ginger and it got all shriveled, yeah, don’t throw that out, it’s actually got a nice flavour. Throw in some grainy mustard too, some honey and season with salt and pepper and you’ve got the perfect side salad for any meal.

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The best thing about this salad is the flavour; Gordon and I both agree that it tastes just like the ‘fake’ wasabi you get in Japanese restaurants but more fresh and less harsh, which we just love!

Check this recipe out if you’re looking for a super simple salad with surprising flavours, oh and also if you like wasabi. Drop me a comment if you made it, let me know how you liked it!

Gingery Cucumber Salad

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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If you’re trapped for time or you just don’t wanna be in the kitchen for hours, here’s the perfect side salad with a punch!

INGREDIENTS

2 large cucumbers

1 1/2 tablespoons grainy mustard

1/2 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon dried ginger, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Slice the cucumbers thinly. Add them to a bowl.

2. Add the other ingredients and toss everything together. Serve as a fresh, side salad.

I hope you shine today!heart

Carrot and Zucchini Flatbread

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Who doesn’t love a good flatbread?

A couple weeks ago I had the urge to make a flatbread with fresh bammy. If you aren’t from Jamaica, you might not know what bammy is, so here goes my description; bammy is finely grated cassava (a root vegetable, like yam), that’s been beaten, dried and formed into thin bread, then baked. It’s Jamaica’s flatbread and it’s sooo good!

My grandparents used to make bammies back in the day when they had the strength to, cause let’s face it, it takes a lot of energy to grate and beat the hell out of the cassava. They had a pestle and mortar, which was actually a hollowed out tree trunk that they would beat the cassava in. The old grate they used to grate the cassava on still stands tall today and we use it to grate coconuts and the like.

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Nowadays we get our bammies from family friends in St. Elizabeth who bake them fresh. I like to crisp my bammy up in a dry hot pan when I get it and that’s exactly what I did with the bammies for this recipe.

Like many of my recipes, I made this one with the items I had on hand and in my garden. I made a carrot puree that went on top of the bammy by simple pureeing cooked carrots with some salt, pepper, almond milk and a pinch of turmeric. The puree was smooth and delicate and surprisingly tasty! I added roasted beets and roasted zucchini on top of that and crunchy pumpkin seeds.

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The best topping of all is the fried pumpkin blossom. I picked some blossoms from my pumpkin patch, stuffed them with organic cream cheese, breaded them in breadcrumbs and fried them lightly in olive oil… OMG it’s so so good. If i had enough of these, I’d fry them up and snack on them all day long! If you take one thing away from this flatbread recipe, let it be this.

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I finished the flatbread off with a drizzle of olive oil, sliced it up and shared it with my mom and Gordon. It’s the perfect lunch time snack that is fast replacing my favourite overnight oats.

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Carrot and Zucchini Flatbread

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

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This is a great flatbread that’s perfect for a lunch snack and it’s super tasty!

INGREDIENTS

2 fresh bammies

1 1/2 carrots

1/2 cup almond milk

a pinch of turmeric

salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 zucchini

1 roasted beet

4 pumpkin blossoms

2 tablespoons organic cream cheese

1 pinch dried herbs

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

olive oil

pumpkin seeds

limes

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a hot pan, crisp up the bammies to create a crust on both sides. Set aside.
  3. Slice carrot and boil until tender.
  4. Slice zucchini, season with salt, pepper and olive oil and roast in the oven until cooked.
  5. Place beet in foil paper, season with salt, pepper and olive oil and roast in oven as well.
  6. When the carrots are soft, puree them in a blender with the almond milk, salt, pepper and turmeric. Puree until smooth and velvety.
  7. Preheat a pan with some olive oil over medium heat.
  8. To the cream cheese, add any dried herbs you have on hand and mix it together.
  9. Stuff the pumpkin blossoms with the cream cheese mixture and roll them in the breadcrumbs.
  10. Fry the stuffed blossoms in the heated oil until crispy and golden brown. When done, transfer the blossoms to a paper towel to drain.
  11. Once the zucchini and beets are tender, remove them from the oven. Slice the beets in desired shape.
  12. To the bammy, add some carrot puree. Top with the vegetables and the fried blossoms.
  13. Add the pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of olive oil. Garnish with lime.
  14. Slice the flatbread and enjoy.